Just got off Skype with a close friend of mine. Daren’s youngest son has been battling bone cancer for a little less than a year now. As we caught up, we talked about “tomorrow” and how uncertain it really is.
We are a society of people filled with looking ahead. We eagerly make purchases knowing that we’ll be making more money in 6 months. We sign 30-year mortgages. We save money so we can retire in splendor. We treat one another poorly because we’ll always have the other. We delay in leading our families faithfully today, because we’ll just wait until next week.
But, in an instant, life changes. Our employer downsizes. The market crashes. Your child or spouse gets a cancer diagnosis. There’s a car accident or stroke that incapacitates a family member. Our spouse walks away. Next week becomes next month, and then next year, and then…our children graduate high school. What’s more, we act so surprised. Which is…interesting.
“Now listen you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”– James 4:13-15
Without giving all of the story away, Daren was telling me this morning how he used to share with his students that tomorrow is uncertain, asking then philosohical questions about how they might act if they were places in certain situations. Yet, when their son was diagnosed with bone cancer last year, the philosophical went away. The choice was clear for them, “What do we believe about Jesus?” Several years ago, Anne and I were faced with a similar choice, and it’s highly possible that we’ll be facing it again.
James continues in 4:16-17: “As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them”
We get this, right? When we plan so much for tomorrow that we neglect the good for today, we sin. We are told that this boasting is evil, and, time after time, we are let down. But that really stops no one from angling the market to try to get those gains back.
Scripture tells us that we are to daily take up our cross, that we are to sacrifice the things of today and live for the One that sacrificed for us. There are no guarantees in this life. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. Where then is our hope?
Our hope is in the One that transcends circumstance. Death itself was conquered in the resurrection, and as such, there is no reason to fear it for those the trust in Him. Daren and Kristi, along with their whole family are sharing in this hope. Anne and I, along with our family, share in it. May God gives us the grace to share it with others.